- •Precipitating events are present in nearly 70% of patients with TGA.
- •TGA patients show a sex-related difference in susceptibility to triggering events.
- •Sex-specific differences in stress vulnerability may contribute to TGA pathogenesis.
Physically or emotionally charged events have consistently been reported as precipitating an episode of transient global amnesia (TGA). In conjunction with evidence of hippocampal involvement from neuroimaging, this has promoted the hypothesis that TGA is a stress-related disorder.
In this retrospective observational study, medical records of 389 patients with TGA were analysed regarding documented precipitating events, which were classified according to previously suggested criteria. Moreover, comorbidities and results of magnetic resonance imaging were collected.
In our cohort of TGA patients, 231 were female (59.4%). A precipitating factor was identified in 266 patients (68.4%). Of these, 136 patients (51.1%) reported physical triggers, the most common being physical exertion (64.0%). Another 122 patients (45.9%) presented with an emotional trigger, most frequently classified as an interpersonal conflict (42.7%). In 8 cases (2.1%), TGA was preceded by a medical procedure. Emotional triggers were more often experienced by women (37.2% vs 22.8%, p = 0.003), while physical stressors were more often present in men (30.7% vs 41.1%, p = 0.035). Women had a significantly higher number of hippocampal MRI lesions than men (mean 1.13 vs 0.92; p = 0.042).
Our data suggest a female predominance in TGA occurrence and a sex-related difference in susceptibility to certain triggering events in TGA patients. In light of recent research on sex-specific differences in vulnerability to stress, these findings support the hypothesis that this might be a significant contributing factor in the pathogenesis of TGA.
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Published online: April 16, 2021
Accepted: April 15, 2021
Received in revised form: April 6, 2021
Received: February 10, 2021
© 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V.